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Summer Vacation Planning

A good way to save for a summer trip is to open a savings account specifically for that purpose and put a little away each month as soon as you receive your pay check. By paying yourself first, you will be sure to reach your vacation budget goals.

Use the following tips to have a worry free vacation:

  • Make a vacation budget. Calculate how much you will pay for travel, lodging, food and spending money and save the amount you will need each month to achieve this goal.
  • If traveling by car, include a basic service for your vehicle to avoid possible break downs which can ruin your trip.
  • Make use of the internet to compare prices of hotels, car rentals, air fares and local attractions. You may find a package deal at a considerably lower price than purchasing everything on an individual basis.
  • Have a family meeting and allow everyone to pick one favorite thing to do on the trip. Make your children aware that you have a vacation budget and will not be buying many souvenirs. Suggest that they collect “free stuff” to make a holiday scrap book e.g. A leaf or flower to press in a book, a shell from the beach, printed napkins from restaurants, free postcards from the hotel you stayed in, ticket stubs from attractions visited and of course the photographs you take on the trip.
  • For a more economical vacation, look at attractions close to home. Visit your State Visitors Bureau for information. There are many daily outings that can be fun at low cost. Pack a picnic and visit a county park, check out local museums for free nights, go hiking, biking or swimming at a local state park.
  • Go camping – about $20 a night rents you a spot to pitch your tent in many campgrounds. Be sure to bring fun activities to keep kids amused.
  • If you plan to stay in a hotel/motel, choose one with a kitchenette and pack food to bring with you if traveling by car. This will be far more cost effective than eating out three times a day.
  • Pay all outstanding bills before you go to avoid late fees. DO NOT use credit cards unless you can afford to pay the bill in full when you return. A vacation should not be a financial drain on your annual budget.
  • Don’t carry large amounts of cash. Use your debit card or travelers checks.

Published Jun 25, 2008.